“Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, yet his foolishness will not depart from him.” (Proverbs 27:22, NKJV)
The proverb depicts a process of separating the husk from the kernel of grain in a manner that is more intricate and careful than the usual threshing process. (The word “grind” means “to pound or beat small.”) Pulpit Commentary notes in this proverb “is expressed the idea that the most elaborate pains are wasted on the incorrigible fool…an obstinate, self-willed, unprincipled man cannot be reformed by any means; his folly has become his second nature, and is not to be eliminated by any teaching, discipline, or severity” (Proverbs, 519). Although pounding and grinding grain yields its intended results, you cannot beat foolishness out of a fool. You cannot pound the truth of God into a heart that is hardened by sin against it. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why it is said to be “impossible…to renew them again to repentance” who have tasted heaven’s sweet goodness and then fallen away from the Lord (Hebrews 6:4-6). Unless and until the obstinate heart softens toward God and toward His truth, the sinner will go on, unaffected by efforts to separate him (or her) from the foolishness of his sin. “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your heart” (Hebrews 3:7-8)!
20 Wisdom calls aloud outside; She raises her voice in the open squares. 21 She cries out in the chief concourses, at the openings of the gates in the city she speaks her words: 22 “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge.” (Proverbs 1:20–22, NKJV)
King Solomon personifies wisdom in this passage. She cries out in open venues, offering her instruction and blessings to all who will acknowledge her. But, she is not met with ready reception. Instead, she is met with scorn and mockery. A knowledge of her ways begins with “the fear of the Lord” (Proverbs 1:7). Her ways are held in contempt by fools; they hate the knowledge she offers (verse 22). And so, they live foolishly, spurning the rewards of her righteous counsel (Proverbs 8:8). Her words of truth warn of sin’s danger, but, fools “hate knowledge,” and “mock at sin” (Proverbs 14:9). Such foolishness primes one to be seduced and destroyed by evil (cf. Proverbs 6:20-29; 7:1-7). Listen to wisdom when she calls. She speaks truth. Her words contain righteousness. They are plain, and they are right. Knowledge of her ways is more valuable than silver, gold, and precious gems (Proverbs 8:5-11). The wise agree; the foolish mock. Which are you?
For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. (Romans 12:3, NKJV)
Speaking God’s word in order to address the spiritual needs of men and women is an action of divine grace. And, that truth applies “to everyone who is among you” – divine truth knows no partiality. Therefore, we are warned against a conceited, arrogant frame of mind toward God’s truth. Arrogance prevents the wisdom of sound judgment. Truly, arrogance is an attribute of the fool, who prideful trusts in his own reasoning: “A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart” (Prov. 18:2). Faith produces humility toward God’s truth, not hubris. Faith does not argue against God’s truth; it accepts it. Faith does not elevate human reasoning; it submits to the infinitely superior will of God. The word “soberly” in today’s text means “to be in one’s right mind” (Thayer, 612-613). When a Christian is arrogant, he is not in his right mind. We must have the mind of Christ (humble and obedient) – not the conceited mind of the world (Phil. 2:5-8).
It is honorable for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarrel. (Proverbs 20:3, NKJV)
Why do we start quarrels? I suspect, if the truth be told, we usually think someone else started the quarrel that exists – “it wasn’t us who started it!” Rarely do we take credit for being the fool who started the argument. Yet, that is the problem, isn’t it? When we are unwilling to admit our part in a quarrel we are not inclined to end it speedily. Instead, we feel justified in “defending ourselves” or otherwise “not giving in” (after all, “we aren’t the one with the problem!”). Quarrels exist where the things of the flesh prevail over the things of the Spirit (Jas. 4:1-4; Rom. 8:5). Fools start quarrels, and sometimes, that fool is the person looking back at us in the mirror. Better that we admit our part in the quarrel, repent of our sin, seek forgiveness and correct the damage we have done, rather than foolheartedly continue sinful strife. Honor comes from ending quarrels, not beginning them.
Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. (Proverbs 26:12, NKJV)
No human being is right all the time. Yet, conceit prevents us from seeing and admitting our errors and shortcomings. Relying upon self-affirming and self-elevating “wisdom” instead of God’s truth is beyond foolishness. Pride is self-defeating, elevating oneself above truth. A prideful heart rejects godly wisdom. Such a person has already made up his mind; He cannot be wrong. Let us not set and hold a high opinion of ourselves. Let us trust God and rely upon the wisdom He has revealed in His word.
The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good. (Psalm 14:1, NKJV)
April 1st is April Fools’ Day, a day for pranks and practical jokes. The sentiment is lighthearted and harmless. But, the heart that says “there is no God” is not harmless. It is a mark of foolishness and corruption to deny God. Such an attitude invariably leads to sinful conduct. Goodness is eclipsed by sins of every kind. Do not be a fool. God is real. Through the gospel of His Son Jesus Christ, God is calling all sinners to give up their foolish ways and be redeemed from sin and death (Acts 2:36-41). It’s no joking matter.
15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise. 16 A fool’s wrath is known at once, but a prudent man covers shame. (Proverbs 12:15-16)
The ability to accept and follow advice from others is a mark of humility. Conversely, the fool pridefully refuses counsel; he is right, and that settles it. The prideful rejection of godly counsel sets the stage for an uncontrolled temper to explode when it is challenged. The remedy for a fool’s wrath includes the wisdom to acknowledge one’s need for help and guidance in life. Above all else, we must humble ourselves to accept God’s counsel, for “the way of man is not in himself” (Jer. 10:23). Cover the shame of wrath by humbly accepting and following the wisdom from above, the word of God.00:05